A good night’s rest is essential for your quality of life and routine. And while sleepless nights can affect even the soundest of sleepers, those who lose too much sleep regularly will find that it disrupts their life. In fact, the Sleep Health Foundation estimates that, on average, one in three adults has at least some degree of insomnia.
However, roughly one-quarter of these folks experience persistent symptoms. And while many people only struggle with getting enough rest occasionally, chronic insomnia is more challenging to treat. So, rather than wonder if you’re living with insomnia, keep reading to learn more about this condition. And then, take our quiz to see if you have chronic or acute insomnia.
Insomnia is a sleep condition that makes it hard for people to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night. Yet, this sleep issue can also cause you to wake too early and not allow you to drift back off to dreamland. For some, it leaves them feeling as if the sleep they did get wasn’t restorative or refreshing.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, nearly 35 percent of people occasionally suffer from bouts of insomnia, such as problems getting to sleep and staying that way. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has insomnia, which is defined as a sleep disorder.
Most people are diagnosed with insomnia once they’re experiencing distress, and their sleep problems negatively impact other areas of their life, such as relationships or work.
The truth is that not every person living with insomnia has a coexisting or underlying condition causing the sleep disorder. However, some risk factors make a person more prone to experiencing recurring bouts of insomnia. For instance, major life events like job loss, moving, death of a loved one, divorce, or starting a new job are known to trigger stress leading to insomnia. Typically, women are more prone to experiencing insomnia than men because of hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, or menopause.
Here are some other common risk factors that can lead to insomnia:
Poor sleeping environment or habits
Excessive use of nicotine, alcohol, or caffeine
Changes in your schedule, frequent travel, or jobs with odd hours
Mental health issues and chronic medical problems like anxiety, depression, arthritis, thyroid condition, or allergies
Changes in your health or sleep patterns as you age
Commonly, those with insomnia complain about how difficult it is to function each day. Though symptoms will vary between people, they range from mood swings and anxiety to difficulties with routine tasks. Here are some other common signs that someone has insomnia:
If you notice that these symptoms persist over long periods of time or get worse, it’s essential to speak with your medical provider about treatment options.
There are a few ways in which clinicians diagnose insomnia.
Clinicians sometimes provide written questionnaires to diganose insomnia. The most popular of these is an insomnia severity questionnaire that comprises seven questions. This self-report helps measure subjective sleep challenges. Each item is rated on a five-point response scale that goes from zero to four, with higher numbers meaning more significant symptoms.
The first three questions on the questionnaire measure the severity of insomnia by looking at the following:
The next four questions target:
There are four severity categories assigned to insomnia. These are: No insomnia (score of 0-7), Subthreshold insomnia (score of 8-14), Moderate insomnia (score of 15-21), and Severe insomnia (score of 22-28).
An alternative to the 7-question questionnaire assesses a person’s quality of sleep. This self-report comprises 19 questions with varying response formats. For example, some questions are based on a sliding scale, while others are open-ended. These 19 factors include:
Aggregated scores range from zero to three points for each question. After the sum is tallied, the higher the score, the worse the person’s sleep quality.
Do you have insomnia? If you display most of the symptoms that we discussed today, there’s a good chance that you’re suffering from a form of insomnia. Your best course of action is to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider. But in the meantime, go ahead and take our free sleep quiz for more insight.